Durham Affordable Housing Bond: The Facts

At UMD, we talk a lot about affordable housing. So, with a bond referendum on the ballot for November 5th, we realize we need to do our part by making sure that our donors, volunteers, and Durham neighbors can utilize us as a thought partner in that conversation. The purpose of this post is to round up and research information as we have it, and put it in your hands.

So, what are we voting on?

A 1.6 cent tax increase per $100 of assessed property value to fund a $95 million dollar affordable housing bond. Passage of the bond will leverage an additional $65 million of local and federal funds to create a $160 million 5-year plan (2020-2024) to combat Durham’s lack of affordable housing.

Who is paying?

The tax is directly aimed at property owners. Indirectly, it is possible that this fee or part of this fee may be passed on to renters when their landlords’ tax bill rises.

How much will the tax end up costing homeowners?

The average tax value of a home in Durham is $229,246 with a current property tax of $1,219. A 1.6 cent increase in property tax would add $37 to that tax bill.[1]

What will the bond pay for?

The city is presenting a wide-range of funding to address Durham’s affordable housing need. Take a look at this graphic we created using the line-item budgets and project descriptions from both the City of Durham’s website and the official Durham Affordable Housing Bond campaign site.

Homeless Programs will receive $10.5 million over 5 years. How does that affect UMD?

As you can see, much of this money is allocated to specific issues pertaining to homelessness, not all of which UMD will likely qualify for. When UMD applies for government grants, we usually qualify for “Emergency Shelter” and “Rapid Rehousing,” a line item which is set to receive $3.46 million. These terms often have specific funding designations for how and where funds can be used by an organization. Consider that it costs $3.8 million per year, including in-kind support, to operate UMD, and that multiple homeless service providers in Durham are likely to be eligible to receive portions of this funding. Activities listed under Homeless System Investments are important parts of the Durham Continuum of Care for the city’s homeless population, but they are not direct activities of UMD that would bring funding to our agency. UMD and others will need to apply for this funding in a competitive RFP (Request for Proposal) process.

The biggest chunk, $58.9 million, is for redeveloping Durham Housing Authority Projects, including the DHA Office. What are the four communities being redeveloped?

J.J. Henderson:  807 S. Duke Street (across from Durham Freeway and American Tobacco)

Forest Hills Heights: 700 S. Mangum Street (across from Durham Freeway and Durham Bulls Athletic Park)

Oldham Towers: 519 East Main Street (on block of E. Main and N. Dillard Street across from UMD)

Liberty Street: 131 Commerce Street (on block of Liberty Street and N. Dillard Street across from UMD and WTVD)

Durham has 14 DHA properties, why were these chosen and what’s the plan for the others?

These properties were chosen because “the downtown location will attract the financing necessary for the redevelopments to succeed.”[2] The goal is to “deconcentrate poverty by making these properties mixed income developments.”[3] Four other DHA properties were recently updated and the remaining six properties will be considered after the 5-year plan concludes.[4]

Stay tuned tomorrow to find out more about the affordable housing need in Durham and the expected impact on that need as outlined by the City of Durham.


[1] “One Page Informational Handout,”City of Durham Website, <https://durhamnc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/27969/One-Page-Informational-Handout>; “Facts and Figures Sheet” Durham Affordable Housing Bond Campaign website, <https://www.durhamaffordablehousingbond.com/en/overview>.

[2] FAQs, Campaign Website.

[3] The Plan, Campaign Website.

[4] FAQs, Campaign Website.